RULES / TIPS on CHOOSING A COVER SONG

May 15, 2009

first off, do you really think there are RULES in music?

in my opinion, organization is essential. a writer has to get his emotions out through organized words so that it could be conceivable by others or even by himself when he's no longer INTO that emotion.

same goes with melodies. there are certain organization and combination of notes that could sing of anger, disappointment, heart break, happiness and hope. no organization? it would be hard to play the piano if the keys are in random order!

what i'm trying to say is, there are no rules in wanting to express one's self. you can write, paint or play anything you want if you don't have plans of sharing your stuff. BUT if we want to be HEARD or UNDERSTOOD, we have to consider some order, or in this case, TIPS and GUIDES.

need a guide for what song to cover? read on.

we have always heard Simon Cowell say "wrong choice of songs" whenever there's a really good performer in front but he/she's not able to show much of her skill or standout from the crowd. what's wrong?

a few things i've noticed:

1. any music performed by an artist that shows BOTH his SKILLS (playing guitar, violin, singing) and ONENESS (emotion, personality) to what he's playing simply sells.
example: summer breeze by jason mraz.

2. anything same old, but brand new and unique; meaning, something that is attractively DIFFERENT from what the society has heard before, sells.
example: boyz II men's yesterday, original by the beatles.

3. anything that gives people some chilly goosebumps during the first few seconds or althroughout the song, sells.
example: adam lambert's rendition of MAD WORLD.

4. any song that relates to the majority of the audience (whether it speaks of their language, culture, history, faith, emotions, occupation, or lifestory) sells.

5. basically, anything tolerable even when played over and over again, SELLS.
example: mostly relaxing songs that don't hurt one's eardrums in one play.

6. an original by a male artist covered by a female artist and vice versa, sells.
example: always be my baby by david cook, i'll be there by mariah carey.

7. an artist from a specific genre covering a song from another genre and making it his own, SELLS.
example: lily allen's version of everybody's changing by keane


what does NOT sell or what is completely FORGETTABLE (in simon's terms)?

1. any cover song that doesn't differ from the original. same arrangement, same instrument, and sometimes even the same voice!

2. any cover that sounds trying hard to be loud and heavy when the message of the song is completely on the contrary.

3. a cover song that don't appeal or relate to the current audience.


TIPS on CHOOSING A COVER SONG

1. know your genre - where do you really belong? forget it, your stage presence will say it aloud anyways.

2. know your skills - know what complements your voice, your range and scope. show off your strength and hide your weakness.

3. know your audience - a performer is also an entertainer. sometimes the audience in a specific venue or event isn't general so it's a challenge for your to keep them entertained while you're enjoying your music at the same time.

4. listen to a wide variety of music - and see a bigger, wider, wonderful world.

5. make it your own - your personal touch matters, not unless you have plans of being a tribute band or tribute artist for th rest of your life.

P.S. whatever you choose, DO IT JUSTICE!


i wrote this article as inspired by:

THE RULES OF COVER SONGS
Choosing and performing a good cover song can be tough for a band. Here are some general rules to follow.
http://www.associatedcontent.comarticle/183983/the_rules_of_cover_songs.html

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